49ers

49ers' Banks will 'put body on line' for Jimmy G and Lance

49ers
Aaron Banks

The 49ers believe in Trey Lance, and paid a hefty price to move up the draft board to select their franchise quarterback at No. 3 overall.

Now, they have to make sure that when Lance does take the field, he'll be well protected.

Enter: Aaron Banks.

After trading down with the Raiders in the second round on Friday, the 49ers selected the massive Notre Dame guard to help keep Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo healthy and upright.

No matter who is taking the snaps in Santa Clara, Banks knows his job is to do whatever it takes to keep the pressure off them.

"It doesn't matter who is behind me," Banks told reporters Friday after being selected. "I think they are both great quarterbacks. But it doesn't matter who is behind me, I'm going to protect whoever is behind me and put my body on the line to protect them and keep them safe."

Banks, a Bay Area native, is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, Banks relies on his raw power and strength to keep pass rushers at bay. Banks did not allow a sack during the 2020 season at Notre Dame and only allowed two in 844 snaps during the 2019 season.

While the 49ers' offensive line has been a good run-blocking unit, it has struggled in pass protection, especially on the interior. The line ranked 26 in ESPN's pass-block win rate.

 

After making such a massive investment in Lance, the 49ers had to find a way to keep him secure and not put him behind a compromised interior line should he come into action in 2021.

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The 49ers re-signed left tackle Trent Williams this offseason and added veteran center Alex Mack to soup up the interior. Banks, who played left guard at Notre Dame, is expected to compete with Daniel Brunskill for the starting right guard spot to fill out a unit that also includes guard Laken Tomlinson and right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Banks knows his worth and understands why the 49ers chose to use their second-round pick on a guy known for his ability to bully defenders looking to punish his quarterback.

"I know that offensive linemen are at an all-time value. If you can't protect your quarterback, you can't really win games," Banks said. "I think that -- I don't know where else to go with that. I think that most teams need offensive linemen. We had a saying at Notre Dame, 'The team goes as we go.' By we, I mean the offensive line.

"If you don't have a good offensive line and can't protect the quarterback and can't assert the run game then you're going to have a tough time."

The 49ers know that all too well.

With Banks in the fold, their rebuilt offensive line should now be whole and primed to keep the heat of Garoppolo in 2021 and Lance for years to come.

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